New Greek govt takes office as painful reforms loom

New Greek govt takes office as painful reforms loom
# 24 September 2015 04:05 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' new left-wing government took office with a mandate to tackle painful economic reforms as well as a growing migration crisis that has shaken the EU, APA reports quoting AFP.

Tsipras barely had time to see his cabinet sworn into office before flying to Brussels for an emergency migration summit, a day after EU ministers forced through a controversial deal to relocate 120,000 refugees, angering several member states in the process.

"We must share the burden," Tsipras said in Brussels, after complaining that Europe had failed to give adequate support to Athens.

The new Greek cabinet is almost a carbon copy of the previous government headed by the 41-year-old premier, who resigned in August after he losing his majority following a rebellion by hardliners in his Syriza party who were angered by the economic reform-and-rescue deal.

One new arrival raised eyebrows -- a lawmaker from junior coalition partner, the nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL), who has made repeated anti-Semitic comments on social media, and was appointed junior works minister.

Dmitris Kammenos sparked uproar earlier this year by comparing the EU to Auschwitz, and is also accused of peddling a conspiracy theory claiming that 2,500 Jews employed in New York's World Trade Centre "skipped work" on the day of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Outrage had mounted over his nomination throughout the day and the government announced late Wednesday that he had stepped down from the post less than 24 hours after being appointed.

Tsipras' decision to keep the same team that negotiated the July cash-for-reforms deal, the country's third bailout in five years, has sent a signal to international creditors.

Pro-euro Euclid Tsakalotos retains the finance ministry portfolio while George Chouliarakis, the reclusive expert who led the country's rocky bailout negotiations with EU and IMF envoys, has been appointed junior finance minister.

According to state news agency ANA, Chouliarakis said 61 percent of Greece's bailout obligations had been carried out.

He said Greece faced "mild" recession this year, and that Athens must reach a deal on debt relief after it undergoes its first bailout reform audit later this year.

EU economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici expressed delight earlier on Wednesday to have Tsakalotos back at the post.

"Happy to continue working together to help Greece," Moscovici tweeted.